Celebraciones Mexicanas: History, Traditions, and Recipes

Selected by Tessa’s Table as one of 10 Best New Books of 2013, this is the first book to bring the richness and authenticity of the foods of Mexico’s 25 major, national holidays and festivals, from the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Carnaval, Cinco de Mayo, to the Day of the Revolution, with Part II covering family celebrations for rites of passage: Quinceañeras, Weddings, Baptisms, etc. A “cultural cookbook”, Celebraciones Mexicanas offers insight into these celebrations that punctuate Mexican life and provides more than 200 original recipes, over 40 complete menus with 100+ color photos and step-by-step diagrams for more complex dishes, like tamales. For each each holiday/festival, included is historical background, cultural and food information, and full menus with recipes. The lavishly illustrated book is appropriate for those seeking basic knowledge of Mexican cooking and customs as well as aficionados of Mexican cuisine. Co-authored with Adriana Almazan Lahl.

Here is what they are saying about Celebraciones Mexicanas:

Steve Sando, founder, Rancho Gordo New World Specialty Food; co-author of “Heirloom Beans: Great for Dips and Spreads, Soups and Stews, Salads and Salsas, and Much More“”

“I like to think I have an educated impression of Mexico but reading Celebraciones Mexicanas makes it clear how much I didn’t know before I read the book. You can use it as a reference piece, but if you’re like me, you’ll want to read every word from the beginning and not miss one delicious detail. Both the fiesta and the food are put into context and I get the feeling this will become a treasured family heirloom for those who remember and for those who want to start celebrating a la Mexicana.

Joanne Weir, James Beard Award-winning cookbook author; television food personality; restaurateur and Executive Chef, Copita Tequileria y Comida

“Adriana and Andrea have done a masterful job sharing the celebrations of Mexico with their words and recipes. They delve deeply into the rich history, customs and culture that will make you not only want to take this book to bed as bedtime reading but also you’ll want to keep it in your kitchen library and cook up some of the fantastic recipes they share. Books like this one are rare today! This is a must for anyone who loves food, culture, history, cooking and Mexico!”

Antonia Allegra, director, The Symposium for Professional Food Writers

“Celebraciones Mexicanas leads us to rich, human stories of Mexico, as well as extensive recipes and cultural explanations. The zestful recipes project Mexican food and festivals throughout the history and flavors of Mexican cuisine. Gray and Lahl present their comprehensive research in vibrant reading and cooking style. The writers present past Mexican rituals and rites, weaving the legacies with today’s table. It is difficult to imagine a more complete collection of information on the present and past of Mexican cuisine.”

Enrique Farjeat, assessor, Conservatory of Mexican Gastronomy; representative to UNESCO’s recognition ceremony honoring the addition of Mexican Cuisine to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity

“To talk about Mexican food is to look well beyond what is actually prepared and consumed to what can be described as “a way of life on plate.” It means embracing cultural practices and shared knowledge that are the common root of Mexico’s gastronomy, extensive and diverse, passed along from generation to generation without recipes but through practice alone. Celebraciones Mexicanas disseminates these practices, traditions, and recipes and in doing so makes an important contribution to traditions of the great nation that is Mexico.”

Elatia Harris, founder, Tessa’s Table 2050 and food sustainability activist

“Andrea Gray and Adriana Lahl have a winner in this charmingly beautiful cookbook that focuses on the food of Mexico’s festivals. As well as recipes, there is abundant material about history and folklore, much of it highly visual and appealing to children – it’s a perfect family gift. Professional cooks as well as writers, Gray and Lahl know their way around the Mexican kitchen. It’s a labor-intensive cuisine, and the streamlining here is as intelligent as any I have ever seen – no false notes, some truly helpful simplifications. If you want the best ever recipe for Nogada Sauce, one of the signature paradisal items in Like Water for Chocolate, buy the book and turn to page 257.”


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